I had an afternoon off because I worked a lot this weekend. Somehow(!?) this seemed to be like a good time to translate this classic Dutch song into English as practice. You can watch the song on Youtube, and sing along!
We’re riding in a trojka, through a forest vast and old
It’s minus 30 celsius, it’s winter, fairly cold
The horses are plowing through the snow, making a rasping sound
It’s nightfall in Siberia: no lions to be found
We’re riding with our children, even though they’re a bit young
Through the endless forest, which features in this song
A shadowy and very labyrinthic ground
In which a man is lucky there are no lions around
We’re travelling to Omsk, but the journey is so long,
That’s why we entertain ourselves singing a festive song
At the same time something’s moving, in the background
Something dark and something numerous, it seems a bit unsound
They’re fairly far behind us, but I can see them though
It’s a whole heap of them, running quickly through the snow
And by running after us, they gain ground rapidly
Which could prove disadvantageous for this family tree
The shadowy apparitions are running fast and keen
They’re running on all fours, and they’re looking very mean
They all have massive fangs, I can see them through the woods
It’s probably a pack of wolves, up to not much good
The situation’s troublesome, but I don’t lose my head
I keep the spirits up by singing folk music instead
We all know the classics, and we’re singing the whole lot
While the wolves are closing in, in a steady trot
It’s still 100 verst* to our destination
Our horses are still fresh and that calls for celebration
Pity that the wolves seemed to have come closeby
One can see the healthy appetite gleaming in their eyes
We still act in a cheery fashion, singing on the run
But some action is required, are you sleeping brother John?
And in an inconspicuous way, my wife and I reflect
Please tell me quickly, who shall be the first one to ‘distract’?
Igor? No, he plays the violin, don’t be so crass!
What about Natasha? But she’s the top of her class!
And Sonya? No, Sonya has such a beautiful alt!
Which leaves us with little Pjotr by default.
So still engaged in song, I grab the little guy
He flies off the carriage, with a grisly cry
The wolves turn their attention to the little treat
84 verst to go, and everything looks neat
We appreciate Pjotr’s talent to be a snack
Because of him, the wolves are temporarily of our back
And we rush forward, as in a nightmare so scary
Ayo, ayo, ayo, ayo up in the lime tree
The howling’s there again, and our hope is badly burned
The wolves are upon us again, and now it’s Sonya turn
There goes the poor child, she was so cheerful and so sound
Still 68 verst, and in The Hague, there lives a count
I’m still reminiscing and my wife she stops my tears
She says, oh look they’re here again, yes they are very near
Igor, it’s a pity, you won’t be a virtuoso
London bridge has broken down, 52 verst to go
With Igor’s removal, we seem to avoid a horrid fate
But no, the wolves are back, and demand another plate
The death throes of Natasha, resound in our soul
The Lion and the Unicorn, 36 verts to go
My wife and I are left, so we’re singing a duet
And If we’re very lucky, we might reach Omsk yet
Too bad, I have to offer her to the hungry pack
Only 20 verts and it’s the house that was built by Jack
Omsk is now in sight, I sing confident, oh boy
I lose my balance while I’m jumping for joy
The wolves are feasting on my flesh, as I complain
‘Omsk is a nice city, but a bit too far away’
*Russian unit of length, about one kilometer.
Dodenrit was written and performed by Heinz Hermann Polzer (Drs. P). I don’t own any of the rights whatsoever.